Have You Responded to the Regional Wellbeing Survey Yet?

Dec 09, 2015

Open until the 31 December, the 2015 Regional Wellbeing Survey forms an important piece of social research that farming organisations and government agencies draw on to understand farmers’ views and social impacts on a range of regional issues.

This year’s survey covers issues such as drought, water reform, green tape, CSG and mining, sustainable farming practices, markets, farm finance, and innovation. With more than 9000 respondents in 2014, the survey results to provide a sound statistical policy resource. 

For more information and to complete the online survey visit: http://www.regionalwellbeing.org.au

World Food Day - A Day of Action Against Hunger

Oct 16, 2015

Friday 16 October 2015 is World Food Day - a day of action against hunger observed by more than 150 countries each year.

It is held to acknowledge the chronic hunger experienced by many, and act as a lightning rod for people to declare their commitment to eradicate hunger in our lifetime.

Globally, one in nine people – or 795 million people – are undernourished, with most living in developing countries.

Asia has the most hungry people, with two-thirds of the total, while in Sub-Saharan Africa, projections for 2014-2016 indicate a rate of undernourishment of almost 23%.

Hunger is a growing problem in Australia too, with a rising number of low-income families struggling to afford minimum daily requirements.

Low-income families are the biggest group seeking food relief, according to Foodbank.

Foodbank is a non-denominational, non-profit organisation which connects the food industry’s surplus food with the welfare sector’s need.

Foodbank released a Hunger Report that revealed 516,000 Australians rely on food relief from Foodbank’s agencies each month, with over one-third of recipients being children.

Australian dairy’s leading manufacturers, including Devondale Murray Goulburn, Fonterra Australia and Lion Dairy & Drinks, support Foodbank. Donations of milk, cheese, spreads and yoghurts help make nutritious meals every day for families and school children that would otherwise miss out.

However, food insecurity in Australia is worsening, as demand for food relief outpaces supply. Each month, more than 60,000 Australians seeking food relief are unable to be assisted.

The Sustainable Development Goals recently released by the United Nations includes a goal to eliminate hunger by 2030.

This goal includes a target to ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, as well as help maintain ecosystems.

The Australian dairy industry is committed to enhancing livelihoods and improving wellbeing, and has established an industry-wide sustainability framework to help achieve these goals.

The framework’s targets include ensuring dairy contributes to improved health outcomes for all Australians, as well as ensuring the rich source of nutrients dairy provides continues to be produced in an environmentally sustainable way to the benefit of all.

The world does not necessarily need to produce more food to alleviate hunger. The World Food Program has stated that hunger is entirely solvable; that there is enough food in the world to feed everyone.

Instead, it needs nutritious food delivered to those missing out.

Dairy – comprising nutrients critical for growth and development – will play an important part in any solution to this problem.

Eliminating world hunger in our lifetime will require a committed approach by all and the Australian dairy industry is proud to play its part.


Health breeding index ticks the boxes

Aug 18, 2015


Jason and Casey Bermingham’s breeding goal has always been fairly consistent: to breed cows that will have long, productive lives in their herd. However over the past 10 years their selection priorities have evolved as their herd develops.

The couple dairies near Maffra in East Gippsland, milking 240 cows under a pasture based system. Sixty per cent of the herd calves in spring and the rest in autumn, averaging nearly 8,000L per cow.

A recent Genetic Progress Report on the herd helped Mr Bermingham refine his breeding priorities.

“Our report confirmed we’d made good genetic progress for production and type traits but it also highlighted the opportunity to improve on health traits such as fertility and cell count. We had already started paying more attention to fertility but the report really brought the message home,” Mr Bermingham said.

When the three new breeding indices became available with the April ABV release Mr Bermingham discovered that the Health Weighted Index (HWI) wa

“I know that all the bulls on the HWI list will improve overall production, with extra emphasis on fertility, cell count and feed saved and this matches what we want to achieve in our herd,” he said.s a good reflection of his breeding priorities.

Mr Bermingham is looking forward to being able to track the impact of his breeding decisions through future Genetic Progress Reports.

“It will be really interesting to see how our herd’s genetic merit for fertility and cell count change over time in response to selecting sires on the basis of HWI,” he said.

Mr Bermingham has welcomed the introduction of three breeding indices.

“Having three indices obviously gives dairy farmers more choice – to identify sires that more closely match their individual breeding priorities. But it has also sparked a lot more interest and discussion about breeding priorities. It has really encouraged people to stop and think about what traits are important for their herd and what direction they want to take their herd through breeding.”

For more information contact Michelle Axford, ADHIS Extension and Education Manager, ph 0427 573 330 email maxford@adhis.com.au or www.adhis.com.au , alternatively take a look at the Good Bulls Guide.


Budget offers mixed bag for dairy

Jun 16, 2015

The 2015 Federal Budget announced on 12 May, delivered modest gains for agriculture. With initiatives aimed at supporting rural and small businesses such as tax breaks for those with annual turnover under $2 million, social and community support services for rural Australians, and drought relief assistance, dairy came out slightly better off than the year before.

On 27 May, ADF welcomed the announcement from Federal Government that it would bring forward the introduction of accelerated depreciation of fodder, fencing and water assets to the night of the Federal Budget, as opposed to 1 July 2016. This decision will greatly benefit farmers who have been recently impacted by severe floods and drought. ADF acknowledges the considerable effort of the Hon. Barnaby Joyce, Minister for Agriculture, in making this happen.

Key gains for dairy in the 2015 budget:

•Tax write-offs for fences and new water storage
•$25 million for assistance for drought affected areas to reduce the impact of pest animals
•$20 million towards social and community support services for emotional impacts on farmers. And an extra $1.8 million for more counsellors.
•Cattle Farmers in the north will see $101.3 million over the next four years for improved road infrastructure
•$25 million to towards assisting Australian producers access the benefits of free trade agreements
•Tax burden for small business will be reduced to 1.5 per cent for businesses with annual turnover under $2 million
•A 5 per cent tax discount for smaller, unincorporated businesses
•An immediate tax deduction of all assets under $20,000 will allow small businesses to invest in new tools or machinery.
•$3.7 million allocated to implement recommendations from the review into the integrity of the 457 Visa Program.

The budget also included money for drought grants and loan schemes, however, this is the same money that was previously allocated but not spent.
ADF would have appreciated the budget also address the lack of Agricultural Counsellor postings to assist with reducing technical barriers to trade within key international dairy markets. We also would like to have seen further Investment in agriculture R, D&E, CRCs, infrastructure for rural regions and biosecurity.

There is still an opportunity to address these issues in the upcoming Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper. ADF will continue to advocate and work with government to help ensure the budget allocations are used to maximise its benefit for the dairy industry. 

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